Proud to offer a full seven-night dude ranch adventure ~ the best value in dude ranching. Elk Mountain Ranch is high and remote in the San Isabel National Forest with off-the-beaten path charm. Adjacent the Browns Canyon National Monument. Unique for spectacular scenery, quality horses, variety of activities & superb menu. Here you will savor hospitality second to none - warm, friendly and sincere.
At Elk Mountain Ranch families are encouraged to spend time together, though we do offer adult weeks in September where up to 20 guests can enjoy the peak of fall colors, with an emphasis of riding and relaxing.
The ranch is a pleasant 2 1/2 hour drive from the Denver Airport. Nearby Buena Vista is home to the largest collection of peaks over 14,000 feet and the "White Water Capital of Colorado."
Week includes horseback riding through unspoiled wilderness, thrilling white water raft trip within minutes of the ranch, trapshooting, marksmanship, archery, trips to Aspen, hiking, fishing, mountain biking and excurson to Browns Canyon Ropes and Adventure Park. Hayride, square-dance and musical entertainment take place in the evenings.
Elk Mountain Ranch is very family-oriented ranch, our supervisors offer fun-filled, well supervised activities for children, ages 3-7. Activites revolve around the "theme of the day," whether this be a cowboy day, Indian day, etc. To learn more about our children's programs visit the "children" tab above.
Elk Mountain Ranch has been the Murphy family's home and passion since 1985.
Good time to go
Every day is a great day at Elk Mountain Ranch.
Children at the Ranch
Great for children aged 3 and over
We are a very family-oriented guest ranch. In concert with our regular ranch activity program we offer a full kids' program for children ages 3-7 years of age. Two children's counselors will offer youngsters a supervised, fun-filled day of activity. Each day includes riding in the arena and activities that revolve around the theme of the day. Cowboy day includes roping, panning for gold, and making sheriff badges. On Indian Day children will make Indian headbands and necklaces, paint faces, hike to a tepee and hunt for arrowheads. Spend a day at the Mount Princeton Hot Springs pools and enjoy the water slide on Water Day.
Children 8 and older are usually able to participate in our regular ranch activities, but are always welcome to join this program.
The following is a typical schedule for children ages 3 through 7 years. Naturally, activities will be tailored to the interests of the children each week.
hiking, biking, picnics, outdoor play area, cookouts, petting zoo, supervised swimming, Trip to Mountain Princeton Hot Springs Pools and Water Slide. Hike to tepee for Indian Day - make crafts and hunt for arrowheads. Pan for gold. Learn to rope.
scavenger/treasure hunts, board games, horseshoes, volleyball, badminton, ping pong, pool table
From age 0 to 3. Hourly cost $15.
Baby Sitting Provided By
Childrens counselor and ranch host
Environmental & Social Practices
Practice leave no trace policy upon our National Forests. The ranch recycles and practices water conservation with staff and guests. We try to be good stewards of our lands.
Over 100 years ago the area surrounding the Arkansas Valley was teaming with mining activity. The ranch was the original “mill site” for the Futurity Mine. At this site, the ore was processed from the surrounding mines of Futurity. Today, the Trading Post, an original building from the late 1800’s, still stands as a reminder to the heritage of our mining past.
Tom and Sue met at the ranch as wranglers back in 1985. After managing the ranch for 10 years, they were given the opportunity to purchase. The have been blessed to be able to raise two children in a spectacular setting surrounded by so many wonderful people. The family of summer staff are so good about keeping in touch and returning to visit. The ranch has been “match makers” for fourteen lovely couples. Tom and Sue have been hosts to over 12,000 special guests from all over the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Ireland, Norway, Finland, Egypt, Switzerland, France, Belgium, Kazakhstan, Denmark, Kuwait, Bermuda, Italy and U.A.E. We are thankful to be able to spend our lives doing something that we truly love, and thankful that we can share our little piece of heaven with all of you!
Your Manager, Tom and Sue Murphy
Tom & Sue Murphy met at Elk Mountain Ranch in 1986. Tom was head wrangler and Sue was a children’s counselor. After 3 years of courting each other from a distance (Sue in Michigan & Tom in Indiana) and returning to Elk Mountain Ranch to work for the summers, Tom finally found the courage to propose. They were married in 1989. In the Summer of 1990, the owner of the ranch was offered a year-round position at Denver University.They asked Tom and Sue if they would be interested in buying it. Of course . . . one slight problem . . . money. A managing partnership led to their eventual ownership.